Logo duscityguides
Logo duscityguides

Your trip-tipp from Düsseldorf Airport

von https://www.flickr.com/photos/75960772@N03/
Meg Chang

Opening hours:

winter: daily 09.00-17.30; summer: daily 09.00-18.30.


Yerebatan Caddesi Alemdar Mah. 1/3, 34410 Sultanahmet-Fatih


Tram Gülhane




+90 212 5221259

Rates and features:

10 TL


Yerebatan Sarnici

The Basilica Cistern, or Sunken Palace (Yerebatan Sarnici), has been widely recognisable since it appeared in the James Bond film "From Russia with Love." Since then, the cistern has enchanted a constant stream of curious visitors. The underground reservoir was discovered by accident, when a local resident near the Hagia Sophia wanted to expand his basement. Archaeologists have dated it to sometime between 532 and 542 AD, during the rule of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. The emperor probably built the cistern for the Imperial Palace, supplying the palace with approximately 80,000 cubic metres of water.
Some of the building materials seem to have been rather arbitrarily selected. The construction includes mismatched pillars and the heads of old statues. However, despite the seemingly motley construction, Roman superstition was not compromised -- the heads of Medusa, which carry two of the pillars, were intentionally placed upside down so that the gaze of this mythological figure would be unable to turn passersby to stone. During a tour of the cistern, wander along steel walkways suspended over the water, through which you can see small, shimmering fish. Subtle classical music and coloured lighting provide the backfrop, lending the cavern a magical atmosphere.